The popular ABC Television dating competition show, The Bachelor on Friday announced Matt James a native of North Carolina as the show's first black contestant. In a statement, Karey Burke, Walt Disney President said "We know we have a responsibility to make sure the love stories we’re seeing onscreen are representative of the world we live in, and we are proudly in service to our audience."
The naming of James as the latest contestant in the show's 25th season came after calls for diversification on the show, petitions signed against ABC to include people of colour as well as the recent Black Lives Matter protests following George Floyd's death.
Matt James, a real estate broker who lives in New York City was initially a contestant on this year's 'The Bachelorette'.
Also, former 'Bachelorette'contestant, Rachel Lindsay who was the first black contestant on the sister show called the network out on their failure to address diversity issues, threatening to disassociate from the franchise. She described it as a "deep-rooted, 18-year systemic problems in this franchise."
"I have always been vocal about the problematic behavior of the franchise and their failure to address their diversity issues: but I stayed with the franchise to be a voice on the inside to push for change," she said in a post.